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David Cameron promises to double allowance for soldiers returning from Afghanistan

Picture 18 David Cameron and Liam Fox flew out to Afghanistan yesterday to meet troops and see for themselves what is happening on the ground right now in Helmand province.

We carried this BBC footage of the visit on the site last night.

But today the headline announcement coming from Mr Cameron is that an incoming Conservative Government would double from  £2,400 to £4,800 the allowance to soldiers returning from a six-month tour in Afghanistan.

He is also re-iterating previously announced plans to appoint a national security adviser, set up a war cabinet, and make Ministry of Defence service personnel wear uniforms not suits.

After meeting troops at the Lashkar Gah base yesterday, the Tory leader said that he was "not interested in cutting and running" from Afghanistan:

"I am not interested in trying to set out some sort of timetable and convince people in that way. What I am interested in doing is helping you, whether in opposition or in government, to succeed in what we are doing here and then to come home. The faster we succeed, the faster we can come home."

"I think following President Obama's speech and the increase in US forces and the increase in British forces, we have a chance now. It is probably our last chance to get it right but we do have a chance."

Today he is scheduled to meet President Karzai.

Update: In a Today Programme interview, Mr Cameron underlined that it was "pretty unlikely" that any British troops would come home from Afghanistan next year, saying, "I don't want to raise false hopes". If and when the audio appears on the BBC website, I will link to it. It's the 08.10 interview.

Jonathan Isaby


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